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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An IDiot Software Developer Opines About Junk DNA

Randy "I want to believe" Stimpson is a software developer who thinks he understands biology. He has written a post where he claims Most DNA is not Junk. Doppelganger has already pointed out the most obvious faults with Randy's point of view [Software developer PROVES that there is no junkDNA*... and other stuff].I just want to comment on one small paragraph in order to clear up any confusion.
A bacterial genome has 4 million base pairs of DNA and according to Professor Larry Morgan, a bacterial genome doesn’t have junk. So I think it is safe to say that there is at least 1MB of information in the human genome.
I'm pretty sure he's referring to me. I'd like to point out for the record that bacterial genomes range in size from about 106 bp up to 107 bp.

All bacterial genomes have junk DNA consisting mostly of defective transposons and defective prophage. In most cases the amount of junk DNA is only a few percent of the genome.

The views expressed by Randy Stimpson are typical of those who desperately want to believe in intelligent design creationism. Junk DNA is not compatible with intelligent design creationism no matter how you cut it.


  1. While I can understand all the other criticism, I don't understand what the basis for calling him an IDiot is. Where did he say anything that betrays a creationist outlook?

    I think "intelligent designer" as a pseudonym refers to his work as a software engineer. Of course, this is based soley on the two posts and several comments that I've seen - but based on that, it seems like a case of misunderstanding .

  2. Rileen, if you browse his other posts you'll find delicious nuggets such as this:

    "As I have explained in many of my blogs, evolution is not compatible with hard science. It is simply the religion of athiests(sic)."

  3. Oh gods, the stupid on that blog makes my head hurt (read the post about "10 Pennies". On second thought, don't).

  4. Thanks, Chris - I hadn't read most of his posts, just one or two besides the two in which he talks about junk DNA.

  5. Hi Larry “I want to believe 97% of DNA is junk” Moran,

    Sorry about misspelling your name. Luckily I didn't I didn't misspell it as Moron. Indeed I was quoting a comment you made on your blog. Not because it was accurate but because your a hostile witness against junk DNA. By the way, you never did answer my last question in that exchange.

    So why is it that you think I am so desperate to believe?

  6. I'm a believer and I will state that I believe God is intelligent.

    However, God is a LISP hacker dammit and any software developer who can't comprehend the idea that DNA is a self-modifying program needs to go back to Visual BASIC.

    Now when I say self-modifying I'm not refering to the actual code being rewritable at run time (sorry but thems is still atoms and atoms don't have high energy nuclear reactions within the cell) but rather two specific things:

    1. What the code produces in successive readings
    2. and as others have said, whether the same genes are turned on at different read times which affects #1.

    I do however think it's very possible that there are redundancies and fault management features and perhaps some error correction features.

    Yet, the suggestion that complexity requires a massive spaghetti code is disappointing, if not depressing.